Monday, October 12, 2015

New looks and faces starting to emerge for UConn offense

When I checked out UConn football practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, I saw some different things that caught my eye including all true freshmen receivers Tyraiq Beals, Hergy Mayala and to a lesser extent Aaron McLean seeing time with the first team offense. I also saw formations with both Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson lined up in the backfield. I've been doing this long enough to know that posting observations like that will not endear me to the coaching staff but usually I will wait until I see in a game what I witnessed on the practice field before posting about it.

Well, I think most of what I saw last week on the practice field is fair game for discussion.

First, I charted the snap counts for the running backs, receivers and tight ends and Mayala joins Noel Thomas, Tommy Myers and Alec Bloom as the only players at the aforementioned positions to take part in more than 40 plays. Mayala not only got the start ahead of Thomas Lucas, but my VERY UNOFFICIAL numbers had Mayala with 41 snaps and Lucas with 12. I should mention that I only did the snap count through three quarters because the fourth quarter was empty the bench time. I also noticed that the majority of the time, the h-back position was filled by a tight end (Bloom, Myers or Dallas Parker). Josh Marriner was on the field for a couple of plays, I did not see Max DeLorenzo take an offensive snap until the fourth quarter and Jazzmar Clax got a couple of snaps.

I saw Beals (who had a surprisingly low 16 snaps through three quarters), Mayala and McLean on the field together for three plays. I also saw eight plays when both Johnson and Newsome were on the field. All of this got me thinking so I broke it down. Again, this is very unofficial since there are times when it is close to impossible to identify all the players before a snap especially when the television broadcast pans into the crowd until just before the snap but I broke down how UConn fared with different personnel groupings on the field together.

TWO TIGHT END SETS:  31 plays for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns
JOHNSON AND NEWSOME TOGETHER: 8 plays for 56 yards
AT LEAST TWO TRUE FRESHMEN TOGETHER: 16 plays for 132 yards and two touchdowns

What does all of this mean? Other than Mayala seemingly primed to take a larger role in the offense moving forward, I'm not really sure because as those numbers above illustrate, the Huskies were able to move the ball whether they went with two tight ends or two tailbacks.


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